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Rory Butcher: ‘It was amazing to lead that final lap and bring it home’

Rory Butcher was relieved to finally stand on the top step of the podium in the 2023 British Touring Car Championship season, after prevailing on the final lap of race three at Donington Park.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing UK star had started Sunday down in 14th on the grid after qualifying nine tenths of a second from pole, but he made steady progress during the day.

In race one Butcher took the chequered flag in 11th, gained two places at the start, before going on to make further gains in race two on his way to eighth.

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Then, drawn to start from fifth for the reverse-grid final race, Butcher made a place at the start before following Árón Taylor-Smith past Tom Chilton on lap four at the Melbourne hairpin.

Crucially, Butcher then took second from Taylor-Smith through the Craner Curves a lap later, and having spent several laps applying heavy pressure to leader Daniel Lloyd late in the race, he gained the lead half way around the final tour when Lloyd suffered a driveshaft failure.

With Lloyd appearing stronger in the final sector of the lap, Butcher admitted that his chances of a successful move were limited, had Lloyd not suffered from his car failure.

“I think it would have depended how the chicane had gone – I was stronger through McLeans, stronger at Coppice, but its easy to defend into the chicane,” Butcher told TouringCars.Net when asked about his chances.

“It would all have depended on how his run was through there and how mine was and that would have impacted the next corner, the hairpin, and I might have made a lunge, but it would have been difficult and it probably would have been risky.

“We definitely had more pace than him – he defended well, let’s put it that way.”

Butcher was relieved to finally win a race in 2023, having also only won one race last year, at form circuit Silverstone.

“We just didn’t piece together the first half of the year,” continued Butcher. “Although the results didn’t come, in the second half of the season I was starting to feel a bit more like myself.

“Qualifying didn’t go to plan, but I knew that the way I’m feeling and the confidence the car is giving me, that today I could just chip away and get an opportunity to be in the top five in that final race.

“I knew that some sort of trophy was on the cards. It was amazing to lead that final lap and bring it home for everybody.”

Butcher added that confidence was high within the team, with team-mate Ricky Collard also enjoying a run of strong results recently.

“I always go well at Silverstone – I’ve had pole for the last two years and I’ve won there as well. Our strength is the team players we have in the team – we’ve got Ricky and George [Gamble] and they’re both really quite fast.

“Ricky is in his second year in the car and he’s really pushing the pace, and George is just finding his feet with it now.

“I think the bigger picture is we’re going to continue to move forward.”

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